An Open Letter to 2020
I’m gonna be honest: I’m not that mad at you. To be fair, I wasn’t on lockdown with a spouse and children, and I am an essential worker. Heck, I’m grateful to have a job. In fact, I’m glad that my whole life took a chill pill. It was nice to not feel guilty about not going out.
That being said, since nothing was open, and all restaurants were take-out only, what was there to do? My answer was simple: yoga. It is wonderful to have a semi-regular practice. While I have done yoga in the past, this year’s restrictions caused me to make it more of a regular thing. You see, 2020, yoga is more than just exercise. It has taught me a lot of things that I have carried into other areas of my life: always listen to your body, modify if needed to hold the pose, and the body responds to support.
With these principles in mind, I took my self-care and self-parenting to a whole new level. You made me do that 2020. You made me see that I deserve to be taken care of, and that it must start by taking care of myself.
Some of the things I did were:
- Practice yoga. This helped me preserve my sanity and keep my body in motion.
- I went on a trip to the desert to stargaze. It was one of the most beautiful and life-changing moments I’ve ever experienced. The peace I felt there is something I always wish to keep with me.
- I wrote about said experience, submitted it to a publisher, and it was published!
- I realized that I was putting up with a rotten living situation for as long as I had because I was able to leave the house. When that was no longer an option, I went home more often. I ended up moving back to Philadelphia from Chicago. My peace and happiness increased exponentially. I needed the support.
- I started taking antidepressants in the beginning of the year before the Covid lockdown, and signed up for FMLA. This allows me to step back when I need to step back, and kept me from spiraling into a depression so deep that I couldn’t work.
- I let go of a relationship that wasn’t serving me.
- All of this led up to me cooking a lot more, since I was home more, and had a much better kitchen situation. I also have an Instant Pot, and have fallen in love with it. We are very happy together, and I see this as the beginning of a long, happy, and beautiful friendship. I also did something that I haven’t done in a long time due to stress: I sang and danced in the kitchen while cooking. I do this whenever I cook, but I haven’t felt the passion for it in a long time… until now.
Releasing and letting go of what isn’t serving me, and giving myself the support I needed is causing the real me to come out. I always knew who she was, but she was weighed down by a lot of things she shouldn’t have had to carry. Following those three principles has helped me release the me that I want to be every single day: the joyful, playful, creative and spontaneous.
In the end, 2020, you reminded me of what is really important, and what my friends tell me all the time: I deserve to be happy.
I salute and appreciate you, and just like I said to my therapist on our last meeting together, I’m saying “aloha” to you. It’s hello and goodbye. Goodbye to the hardships and stress that this year wrought, and hello to a new way of living because of those hardships, and the lessons they taught me.
And while I’m speaking Hawaiian, I have one more thing to say before I sign off with you: Mahalo.
Photo credit for Dear 2020 by Unsplash.